Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Is the economy destroying love?

Many young people are delaying 'key life decisions' like getting married and having children.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 15, 2012 4:07PM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site U.S. News & World Report.


U.S. News & World Report logoFor recent college graduates, the post-recession economy has meant a challenging job market, lower earnings, and a greater chance of moving back home with parents. As they progress through their 20s, it also means they're more likely to push off traditional milestones such as getting married and starting a family.


Woman on the Telephone © Radius Images, Radius Images, Getty ImagesA new survey from Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging young adults on economic issues, found that eight in 10 young women between the ages of 18 and 29 living in Florida say they've delayed "key life decisions" because of the weak economy. Three in 10 specifically mentioned starting a family as something they will either delay or possibly skip altogether, and two in 10 said the same about marriage.


Respondents also listed a variety of other life events they're skipping or putting off: vacations, attending weddings or family reunions, buying a home and saving for retirement. In a statement, Generation Opportunity executive vice president Amber Roseboom noted that young women's "careers and dreams have been interrupted."


The survey echoes similar national findings of both genders. Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center found that almost one in three young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 say they have delayed marriage or parenthood because of the economy. About half said they have taken jobs they don't want to pay bills.


When it comes to the biggest life decisions -- when and whether to get married and have children -- money undoubtedly plays a big role. But it's possible to find ways to make both events more affordable. Marriage can even help couples save money, especially if they combine expenses they previously paid separately, such as food, housing and transportation. Couples with very different salaries, or where one spouse earns a lot and the other earns little or nothing, can also find themselves paying a lower tax rate post-nuptials. (The opposite is often true for couples who earn similar amounts.)

Babies are a little trickier. They are expensive, and getting more expensive all the time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that babies born in 2011 will cost their parents $234,900 before age 18, which was a 3.5% increase over the previous year. That's because child care, education, transportation and food prices are all rising.


But as with marriage, there are ways to generate savings: Children can share bedrooms, parents can buy or borrow secondhand clothes and toys, and buying and cooking food in bulk can keep grocery bills down. Parents might even find that some pre-baby costs, such as restaurant meals and vacations, naturally go down with their new child-centric lifestyle.


Still, there's no avoiding the fact that marriage and parenthood often introduce new expenses into one's life. Based on the recent surveys, young adults appear to be keenly aware of that fact. Delaying either event can be the smart move for 20-somethings still struggling to find their own financial footing.


But for those intent on moving forward, either down the aisle or into parenthood, there's usually a way to make it happen without breaking the bank.


Have you delayed marriage or parenthood because of the economy?


More on U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money:




Nov 16, 2012 8:31AM
People want to complain that Obama did all of this to them. Well, when the Bush Administration had 8 years to prove what the Republican agenda would do for us all, they didn't deliver. What we got was this economy we have now and the rich got richer. Remember that...all of you whiny babies with short attention spans? They screwed us so badly that Obama has had to spend his first 4 years trying to mend it and he never promised it would happen overnight because the country is just that damaged by the corporations and you Romney people want to hand it all right back to them on a silver platter. That's who you should be shooting your anger at. What could help take some of the pressure off f all of us is if the RICH WOULD PAY THEIR FAIR IN TAXES!!! Oh, but God forbid that the likes of Donald Trump or Mitt Romney or any other billionaire might suffer losing a few million or not be able to buy that bigger yacht they had their eye on. Why don't you people wake up and grow up. I wonder why you all refuse to see that the rich think they're above the law and country and they're the ones that are sending our country down the toilet!
Nov 16, 2012 8:16AM

Only a few generations ago everyone was home before marriage.  The recent rapid economic expansion is what enabled young people to move out.  Moving out set a new standard for a good mate.  It also put a strain on housing.  More units were built to accommodate the new market. and the upward housing spiral began.

While most were looking like great matrimonial picks, the underlying truth was that they were swimming in debt and immaturity.  Mortgage, rent, auto, student loan, credit card payments and life's necessities made that handsome salary look like chump change..

Today people have a chance to see how prospective mates handle the real world.  Things like real love, appreciation, kindness, temperament and respect are but a few. 

We may have returned to a place that is better. A time where possible mates are not analyzed like a prospectus. It was a mental checklist of how will this person might improve my portfolio. Health, height, weight, cup size, eye color, friends, car make, and address were the criteria for wedding day,  So many young people get a divorce simply to cut their losses.  They made a bad investment and needed to dump it and get back in the market.

Nov 16, 2012 7:57AM

I've decided to wait untill the cows come home befor having more kids, I'm 73 and having a ball

I'm reaching for the gusto.

Nov 16, 2012 7:55AM

 When material things begin to mean more to you than your family then it's time to reevaluate your life.  Having to sell your $400,000 home and move into an apartment or condo should not be a deal breaker in a relationship.  If kids aren't willing to follow thier dreams until they can afford that brand new bmw and that McMansion then they deserve to lose out on life.  All that fancy stuff doesn't make anyone truly happy.  That kind of ownership only causes stress and worry that one day you will lose it all.  People need to learn to live more simply, without the fancy attatchments that are there only to impress.

Nov 16, 2012 7:47AM
Those are responsible decisions based on the realities of a couple''s finances.  However, the economy has been pathetic for 4 years now, and yet, a majority of people still voted for Obama.  Don't complain now - you're getting what you asked (and voted) for.
Nov 16, 2012 7:16AM
If you have any money left, get out of the US and start over somewhere else.
Nov 16, 2012 7:08AM

Love? It is destroying families. We used to have single income families before women decided they had to work and that is the problem now. I do not understand the logic of demanding 50/50 at home from your "partner", but will instead go to work, dress up every day, and kiss someone's a$$ that only pays you 1/100 or 1/1000 of what they make. How intelligent is that?


Instead of sharing/splitting up the workload we are forcing each other to do more and more work by competing with each other for the same pay. Employers love it because they are getting two workers for the price of one. If there was a shortage of workers then simple supply and demand says that the remaining workers would get paid more.


Most women will not give up their paycheck to support a man to stay at home and take care of things. Most women expect a man to get and hold a job. Most men on the other hand will fork over the majority of their paycheck to their wives, who will spend that money too. Granted most goes towards the family/bills, but women still have control in most cases even if they are not the breadwinners.


Have one person work one week while the other person takes care of the house and then trade off the next week if you cannot stand to stay at home or to have your partner stay at home. We should be splitting the workload, not duplicating it. WTF is the point/advantage of having a partner if I have to do even more work? There should be some benefit.


Women are also the reason for insurance companies and the "need" for them. They need that sense of security, that everything will be alright, and that their children will be protected. They buy into the scam of insurance hook line and sinker. They will WASTE and pay a ridiculous amount of money in middle man fees that do not provide any real service or benefit. They demand to waste money on middle man fees for no reason. The vast majority of people would be better of without insurance since most will pay in more then they will ever receive in benefits. You would be better served putting that money in a bank or investing it according to the odds/math.


Sorry for the "women" rant, but when I see a headline about how the economy is killing "love"... Want to talk about how you are creating the very problems you are complainng about? What to talk about what laws you support, who you voted for, and why? It is so easy to scare, fear, place doubt, worry, etc. into a women's head causing them to do/buy something it is not even funny. Salesmen/politicians see you coming from miles away.

Nov 16, 2012 6:41AM

Responsible young folks will always consider money when making life choices,but having someone you love to come home to at night makes everything seem better. 


LOL and yes raising kids is surprisingly expensive


I guess this is news

Nov 16, 2012 6:12AM

I have a great idea. I was born here, raised here, and shed blood for the place, but unlike some, I DON'T have to stay here. You can play commie games (ask a Russian how that worked out), create labor camps for anyone that's ever made over 50 grand a year, hell, you can even dress up every non-White under 25 in a uniform and have a cultural revolution (you can create a rap anthem). But don't write and ask me for any taxes to buy a diving board for your new cesspool. Nope. My wife and I are selling everything we've worked so hard to build for over 3 decades and moving to Eire to enjoy it. So send me a postcard, one with a photo of people who believe in God being marched off to re-education camps. Have fun! Address card to: Rich laughing man holding ale, Outskirts, Dublin, Eire.

Nov 16, 2012 5:57AM
I'll stick to using my right hand it can't take me for half
Nov 16, 2012 5:34AM
Basically we have cut jobs fifty percent over the last century due to the women's movement. That after moving slaves into the workforce. Jobs have been decreasing for years because more and more people groups keep getting matriculated into the labor market.
Nov 16, 2012 4:34AM
After the increasing divorce rates of the past few decades hopefully lessons have been learned.  Rushing into marriage and having children is not what I want my children to do.  Get your education and see the world,  marriage and family is not the top priority in life.
Nov 16, 2012 4:14AM
Obama was political from an early age. He's half African and I'd say, from what I've observed of him, that his hero is Patrice Lumumba. He knows zero about business, was never any part of it, and what he knows about economics I'd say he borrowed from Marx. He was a "neighborhood organizer". Russians invented the concept of neighborhood organizers. They were called commissars and were the most important part of the Soviet system. Both of Obama's excellent ground campaigns have been based upon a blueprint of the commissar system. In order for Obama and the Dems to maintain their coalition of Blacks, Browns, Global Warmers, hardcore unionists and Gays, they must have something to demonize. They will continue to demonize Business, non-leftist Whites, and especially belief in God. This is a poison atmosphere for a system, and its system of economics, which was based upon Western civilization. You cannot force people to invest, you can only nationalize (and that's coming). You cannot stop people from buying gold and silver, creating black markets, and hoarding, unless you have troops put them against a wall and shoot them. The table is set. Investment is going down (or out), taxes are going up, production is going down, unemployment will be going way up, the quality of medical care will be going down, medical costs will be going up. A huge number of business's will fold, many cities will be bankrupt. And when the place becomes a third world mud hole Obama's coalition will get down on bended knee and beg the rest of us to rebuild business and save them.
Nov 16, 2012 3:37AM

How can we be expected to get married and start a family when we're struggling to pay off thousands of dollars of student loan debt for a degree that doesn't guarantee us anything these days?

Nov 16, 2012 3:09AM

"But woe unto you rich; you have your reward.  Howl and weep for the miseries that are going to come upon you in hell."


The global affluent have too much control.  They're not necessarily good people-I've been around plenty of them.  God remembers your lives, lies and ill-gotten gain.


Our constitution, for all intents and purposes, is gone.  We're perpetually held hostage by the 'we're going to take our toys and go home if we can't get our way' mentality of wealthy Americans.  Our treasury has been raided-it's just a way of life now-they're teaching it at the universities...there's no accountability.  By the time the Brokaws of the world get wind of the heist-it's all gone.


This generation of people wants to control everything and everyone, and do not believe in passing on to the next generation.


We are being stteped in social and financial chaos to ease this former nation into the global agenda-without them firing a shot.

Nov 16, 2012 3:06AM
There are many reasons why people delay getting married to say its all the presidents fault is absurd. For people who preach personal resposibility you sure blame alot of people for sh*t, I know its easier to blame everyone who voted for the president for your financial problems but sooner or later you have to take responsibility for your own sh*t. If you want to throw a temper tantrum because the election didnt go your way and secede from the govt fine go. You think alot of your self if you think your leaving is going to have any effect at all. Its not. We live in a country where people are allowed to vote. The country re elected the president. And not EVERYONE who voted for him live on the "dole". That is a very insulting thing to say to people and it was that kind of talk that lost the election for you people!
Nov 16, 2012 2:55AM
When you've got an entire generation of the intelligentsia not having kids, don't be surprised if they put their energy into figuring out how to create a society in which they can afford to.
Nov 16, 2012 2:30AM
there was a time when people worked so hard and so many hours each day to achieve their dreams there was no time to spend responding to mindless blogs and useless social media sites....
the internet's to blame for it all . And as soon as  I log into my email I'm writing about it to everyone I know

Nov 16, 2012 2:22AM
Of most of the people I know, the ones making the lowest wages seem to want more kids. They don't seem to have a care in the world. Abortion has also caused many to delay getting married, and look more towards their careers than marriage. Husband and wife choose to work (to follow the "American Dream"), leaving their children to learn from outside the family. "Living together" has become more acceptable in our society. Pulling away from the church has weakened marriage. Our society has welcomed homosexuals to be joined matrimony. In short, morals have gone down the tubes, and marriage is a moral issue, as well as a religious issue. People are becoming more dependent  on our government, more entitled, more self - centered, less responsible. Marriage just gets in the way. Now, there's many things young people will never learn from their parents. Or anybody else.
Nov 16, 2012 2:00AM

The stock market dropped over 300 points the day after "president what's his name" wasn't ushered out the door, and the drop was blamed on the unrest in Europe. Yea right, yet another lie told by the in-the-tank-scumbag-U-turn-leftist media.

I might not have near the anger with the result if it was a fair fight, but it wasn't anywhere close to a fair fight. I know that politics is a dirty game but when over 90% of the outgoing information is skewed to the left & gullible people take that as the truth the result, in the end everyone loses. Just ask a Greek.

 So, do your own research & you'll realize what a huge mistake you all have made. We needed a businessman in the White House but instead we have the looser retread who thinks that an economic policy is comprised of planting money trees.


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.